Bells’ Track

Tena kouto katoa

It is getting very dry and I have noticed that up the track a few plants have succumbed to this.

Overall though it is looking good and the lower areas are now looking as if we are achieving reaforestation. A recent trip to Kaitoke really showed how our bush should be, 30-50m high rimu, matai, wonderful tree ferns, tawa and hundreds of species of native flora. Fauna is still lacking and this the result of introduced predators . Much recently has been said about 1080 poisoning but having read Dr Jan Wright’s full research I support its use. There have been letters in the press for and against but all studies indicate we have no alternative if we are not to lose more species. Where pest control is carried out at Arthur’s Pass, kiwi, whio, robin, falcon, weka, tui and long tail bat numbers are on the up. Tomtit, waxeye,rifleman and bellbird are flocking. Weta are thriving and there are more skinks. Kakariki have responded well elsewhere to 1080 control.

Plenty of work to be done up he track –weeding, cutting out pest plants and mulching ( as long as the ground is damp) The next working bee is Sunday March 2nd at the usual time of 10.30 am to 12.30

The Tuesday group still meets at 11am in the vicinity of Awarua St station. Sad to say we have lost some volunteers recently and it may be time to consider some publicity. Zar has moved to Auckland, Barry and Alison for various reasons cannot commit themselves to their spot, Janet and Scott have moved to Picton for family reasons. All have worked hard on the track or by Awarua station and they will be greatly missed

Toes to tape

Toes to tape

The flora and fauna were both subject of recent articles in the Dompost. The flora is Melicytus obovatus and the fauna geckos. On Zealandia tours I often mention bio-mimicry. A well known example is Velcro which was developed after burrs were observed clinging to the hairs of a dog-so here is another example.

A self -cleaning adhesive tape inspired by the feet of geckos has been developed that stays sticky even on dusty surfaces. Scientists followed nature’s lead to come up with a dry material covered in clinging microscopic hairs. Like a gecko’s toe pads they automatically rid themselves of larger dust particles through friction while smaller grains disappear into grooves between the hairs. It took scientists many years to figure out how geckos are able to scurry up vertical walls. The lizards have millions of tiny hairs on each toe which have an electrical quantum effect that maintains a firm grip.”

Melicytus obovatus

Melicytus obovatus

‘it is said that prophets have no honour in their own country and the same applies to many native plants. Eye catchers such as kowhai, kakabeak and flax are ubiquitous favourites while a great little plant such as Melicytus obovatus is ignored and becoming rare in the wild. Even its name is intriguing “meli’ Greek for honey and kytos for hollowed out, hence the common name honey cave.’ Obovatus’ refers to the slightly heart shaped leaves which are attached ‘the wrong way round’. The tiny flowers are followed by white, purple blotched berries. M. obovatus is endemic to Wellington.

It is hardy, evergreen and neat at a metre tall – and is being widely recommended as the ideal replacement for blighted buxus.

Ka kite Ano